(The optimist sees this as a wave ‘hello.’ The pessimist sees it as a wave ‘goodbye.’)
Well, the UFC made it through their first German event without anyone dying or even getting seriously injured. That ought to shut up the German newspapers, although Cro Cop’s Three Stooges eye-poke against Mostapha Al-Turk didn’t exactly help. Now it’s time we sort through the winners and losers from this weekend and see who’s up and who’s down.
Rich Franklin +97
It wasn’t a dominant victory, but a win is still a win. He picked Silva apart pretty well until a couple hooks wobbled him and sent him into retreat mode. Even so, he fought smart and did just enough down the stretch. Now let’s see him against one of the young up-and-comers in the 205-pound class and find out if he’s got any real bang left in him.
Wanderlei Silva +10
He showed that he can still take a shot as well as he can give one, and that’s enough to overshadow the latest loss tacked on to his record. That said, he needs to go win a fight as a middleweight if he wants to stick around.
Cain Velasquez +86
So he has a chin to go along with that ground game. He also has an ADD-style ground-and-pound game that never stops, though it also never stays with one approach long enough to finish. Before we decide that he lacks power, though, let’s remind ourselves that Kongo couldn’t even stand up after the third round. Now who’s got next?
Cheick Kongo -34
The dude still can’t wrestle all that well, but we knew that. He showed a lot of heart taking that beating and still coming up firing when the opportunities presented themselves. Still, without a great takedown defense or a stellar guard game his options are very limited in the UFC’s heavyweight class.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic +12
He beat a hapless Al-Turk with a combination of left hands and fingers to the eye. But rumors that he’s looking to bounce from the UFC after getting one easy opponent aren’t helping his image. Did he really manage to go from the fighter with a renewed focus and hunger to a con man in checkered shorts all in one weekend?
Dana White -21
Blasts Cro Cop for screwing him on the contract they hadn’t yet signed, though Cro Cop says it’s all rumors. Before you get too indignant, Mr. President, think about all the fighters who got three-fight “contracts” in the UFC only to get cut after losing the first bout. Honor is a two-way street.
Mostapha Al-Turk -42
Not that we expected much, but damn, son. Looping punches and awkward kick attempts like that make us wonder how you ever managed to last two fights in the UFC. Wouldn’t count on a third, if I were you.
Dan Hardy +63
Proved he could not only hang with Davis on the feet, but did far more damage down the stretch. His plan to talk his way into this fight couldn’t have worked better. The opponents only get tougher from here on out. Better go work on your ground game.
Marcus Davis -45
Did he really think he won that fight, or was he just frustrated at not shutting Hardy up, as planned? Either way, Mr. Stand and Bang took a big step back.
Mike Swick +54
He beat a guy he was supposed to beat, but did it in impressive fashion. He says he wants a title shot or Matt Hughes next. I’m not convinced that he’s really ready for either, given his mediocre list of recent opponents, but at some point you’ve got to throw him in there and find out.
Ben Saunders -32
Think of this one as a learning experience. He’s still young and unpolished, but has the physical tools to do something some day. Just not quite yet.
Spencer Fisher +11
Not much excitement to be had, but he gets the win based on takedown defense and a handful of good strikes. Winning a boring fight is still better than losing it. Does feeling that way make me a “drunken meathead”? I was no more than slightly buzzed, I swear.
Caol Uno -17
Might have set a UFC record for takedown attempts over three rounds, but when most of them are unsuccessful that’s not much of an accomplishment. This guy desperately needs a better striking attack to give people something to worry about aside from his shot.
German fans +40
Seemed as knowledgeable as any other crowd, and booed only slightly less than an American audience would have. The fact that it wasn’t a vicious bloodsport seemed not to bother them at all. Call it a successful first shot at European expansion.